When the Heart is Hardened (Exod 10)
Speaker: Pr Joshua Yong
Date: 12 Jun 2022

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Haw Yew Nyen

A person who hardens his heart against God is one who deliberately refuses to submit to God’s Word. Pharaoh is one such person whose heart was hardened. He was given God’s words through Moses but he kept rejecting them. Eventually, his heart was hardened by God (Exod 10:1), i.e. the judicial hardening of his heart. There are 3 things we can learn about the hardening of the heart.

  1. The source of hardening

Although Exodus 8:13 says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, it was Pharaoh’s constant rejecting/disobeying God (Exod 10:3) that was responsible for the hardening of his heart. Despite having witnessed God’s power through the multiple plagues that took place in Egypt, as well as God’s mercy in removing each one of them after Moses intreated the LORD on behalf of Pharaoh, Pharaoh still refused to humble himself. God is not to be blamed when He hardens the hearts of people. We are responsible for our own actions. God is merciful and will forgive when we confess and repent. Hence, we must search our hearts and know our hearts’ condition. We must always repent of our sins and seek God’s mercies and forgiveness so that our hearts will not be hardened against God.

  1. The effects of hardening

When a person’s heart is hardened, there may be some positive responses from that person which seem to indicate that his heart had softened and he had repented of his sinful actions. In Exodus 10:8, it seems like Pharaoh’s heart had softened when he allowed Moses to go and serve God. However, Pharaoh’s positive response was due to his fear of the effect of the locust plague which would take place if he did not agree to do what Moses say. Pharaoh’s intention was never to obey God or to let the children of Israel leave Egypt. Rather, Pharaoh struck a compromise with Moses so that God would not send the locusts. Pharaoh was only pretending. His actions may change, but his heart remained hardened.

We must be wise and not be fooled. We must never strike a compromise with others when it pertains to spiritual matters. We must only obey and do that which is right according to God’s Word.

  1. The purpose of hardening

The purpose of God hardening one’s heart is for God’s power and mercies to be made known (Rom 9:17-18) so that His name will forever be glorified. To those who keeps disobeying and rejecting God, God will eventually reject them. However, to those who obey and seek after God, God will show His bountiful mercies unto them.

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